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Black Farmers’ Market Memphis aims to be oasis in food desert

The Black Farmers’ Market Memphis kicked off its third season on recently, with the promise of bringing nutrient-dense fresh food into one of Memphis’ many food deserts.

The market opened on Saturday, June 15, in observance of Juneteenth weekend. The initiative, a collaboration between The Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis, Pilgrim Rest Church, and Charlotte & Pickens, aims to address systemic issues such as food deserts and the wealth gap, while celebrating the community’s agricultural heritage.

Brittney Sessoms, the owner of Charlotte & Pickens and the visionary behind the market, emphasized the significance of the event.

“It makes no sense that black people anywhere are hungry or unhoused, given our historical connection to the land and food,” said Brittany Sessoms, who brought the vision to life. “The market is a response to the challenges faced by the local community, providing access to fresh, affordable, nutrient-dense food.”

The market offered a variety of local produce and artisanal products. Vendors included Crawford’s Garden Starters, Lockard’s Produce, Midtown Bramble & Bloom, and Toles Farms, as well as Black Majestea, South of the Caribbean Islands, and CxffeeBlack.

The event featured a rich tapestry of local flavors and cultural expressions, creating a vibrant atmosphere for attendees.

One of the highlights was a live plant-based food demonstration by the Nutrition Ambassadors Network, promoting sustainable practices. The first 50 guests received reusable shopping bags with the message “Live, Love, Local,” underscoring the market’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

The market also featured live performances, including a set by DJ Juice the Great and an artist chat with local artist Dottie, moderated by writer Danica Wills. Children’s author Alice Faye Duncan conducted a live reading of her book, “Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free,” adding an educational component to the event.

Food trucks such as Frozen Spoon, Crossover Eats, and Chi Phi provided a diverse array of culinary options, further enhancing the market’s appeal. These vendors not only offered delicious food but also represented the entrepreneurial spirit within the community.

The Black Farmers’ Market Memphis is not just a marketplace; it is a movement aimed at fostering direct relationships between farmers, chefs, and consumers, creating a self-sustaining ecosystem that benefits the entire community. It stands as a model for transforming local food systems into engines of economic, social, and cultural resilience.

The market will be open every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. until September 24, 2024. For more information, visit Black Farmers’ Market Memphis or call 901-646-0947.

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